In a world of relentless stress and endless responsibilities, it can be difficult to find the time and means to find solitude and inner tranquillity. In efforts to combat the chaos of the outside world, many people have found solace in the practice of flotation tank therapy. This form of therapy empowers users to unwind, relax, and tune out the outside world in efforts to mindfully connect with themselves.
Flotation pods are designed to be both sound and light proof, and are filled with approximately 500kg of Epsom salt and just the right amount of water (at body temperature) to keep the user in a constant floatation state. This environment creates a reduction in body pressure and allows for muscles to relax while the mind, simultaneously, unwinds.
Studies have indicated that removal from external stimuli, through floatation tank therapy, promotes natural rejuvenation as the body is empowered to draw its energy inwards; a process known as parasympathetic response. Thereby, ongoing utilisation of floatation therapy promotes injuries and ailments to heal more efficiently as T-cell production is increased in the immune system.
Beyond increased energy, floating also promotes better circulation rates of blood and fluids throughout the body and slowed heart rate and blood pressure levels. The combination of these effects creates the optimal environment for muscles, tendons, arteries, and joints to effectively relieve tension.
Floating also creates the optimal environment for the kind of true rest that is, typically, only experienced during advanced meditation. In fact, the sensory deprivation environment of floatation pods has been shown to transition the brain towards lower wave frequencies; levels normally only achieved for short periods of time during sleep. These states of rests have been demonstrated to last far longer in the pods as opposed to during normal sleep in a regular bed. What is most impressive, however, is that these states can occur while the user is consciously awake in the pod.
Beyond, physical and mental benefits, floatation rest sessions may also promote creativity in users. In 2011 a study knowns as, “The Effect of the Floatation Version of Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) on Jazz Improvisation,” was conducted by the University of British Columbia in British Columbia, Canada. Vartanian, PhD and Peter Suedfeld, PhD implemented the study by observing musicians and their ability to play improvisational jazz before and after floatation therapy sessions.
The results supported the hypothesis that floating may promote creativity. Professors of music who specialised in jazz rated the musician’s improvisational jazz sessions both before and after floating tank therapy sessions. It was concluded that, based on the insight of expert professors, the music created after the floating sessions were superior to the music that was created prior to the floating sessions. Thus, the basic idea that floating can promote creativity was supported.
Although more studies must be conducted to scientifically prove the claim that floating can increase creativity, this study provides a sturdy basis for understanding and further research efforts.
As floatation tank therapy continues to grow in popularity as a mainstream remedy to encourage mental, physical, and spiritual wellness, it is quite possible that research will continue to prove its health benefits.
For now, though, there is a wealth of information that may be accessed, available from personal testimonies, portraying a wide variation of health benefits experienced through floating.